Cash-for-work helps displaced people in Somalia

Awliyo Adan Shamsudiin breaks down firewood. She is selling it in the neighborhood as a small business. (Photo: NoFYL)

Somalia | 2023 | CBPF

Somalia, Bay region. When Amino Aadan first came to Hirdoogle displacement site, she wasn’t sure how she’d make a living to provide for her children.

The longest and most severe drought seen in Somalia in at least 40 years affected millions and drove further displacement. The Somalia Humanitarian Fund allocated US$71 million in 2022 to scale up life-saving response and prevent famine.

Amino initially washed clothes and cleaned her neighbours’ homes, but she wasn’t earning enough to feed her children well.

With funding from the Somalia Humanitarian Fund, Somali partner organization Northern Frontier Youth League (NoFYL) supported a cash-for-work scheme at the displacement site, including garbage collection, weed-removal, and other clean-up efforts.

Three months of work meant three months of pay, and a chance for Amino and other vulnerable families to start small businesses of their own, pay off debts, or buy the basics their families needed.

Amino used the money she earned to start selling vegetables and provide a more reliable income for her family. “I depend on this shop to feed my children and I hope to expand it soon and bring other items for my customers,” she said.

Dadir Adan, a young man who fled conflict in Shebelle ten months ago, was team leader for the cash-for-work programme. “Some of the beneficiaries used the money to purchase food, while others bought clothes for their children, especially last month to celebrate Eid-Al-Fitr. The money assisted a lot of us who didn’t know what to do to cover family expenses during Eid.”

Awliyo, another programme participant, used her first month’s payment to start a small business selling firewood. With only three months of work under the scheme, she had to plan next steps, and from firewood sales, she expanded to other goods, allowing her to make a living in the camp. “It’s small but it’s bringing in money I didn’t have before,” explained Awliyo. She said she appreciated the cash-for-work programme, but hopes next time it will run for longer.

Fadumo also saved up to start a business. This young woman sells clothes and shoes, a business jump-started with earnings from the cash-to-work scheme. “I can say that I benefited twice: the camp is clean and I started my own business. I don’t depend on anyone now but myself, and I hope to expand my business and start selling wholesale clothes to the shops around here.”

Hassan, an elderly man, used his earnings to clear his debts. “Without any work, it was difficult to pay the debt and this ruined relationships with other people. Through the program I was able to pay off my debts and I used the leftover cash to buy food for my family. It didn’t cover all of my needs but it definitely helped.”

Adapted from original stories from Northern Frontier Youth League and OCHA Somalia.

For more information: visit the Somalia Humanitarian Fund page and find real-time contribution and allocation data on the POOLED FUNDS DATA HUB.